Austin’s summer meals programs readying for the end of school year

Central Texas Food Bank food preparation (KXAN photo)
Central Texas Food Bank food preparation (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re worried about feeding your kids this summer once school is out there are several options for free meals throughout the city.

The Central Austin Food Bank will have more than 70 sites where any child 18 and under, regardless of where they live or family income, can receive a free meal.

“We’ve definitely found that during the summer months families are hit hard,” said the food bank’s chief development officer, Mark Jackson. “Budgets are stretched and we’ve got increased child care costs, increased energy costs and so we’ve got a lot of folks reaching out to us asking for some support.”

The food bank expects to produce 80,000 free meals for kids starting in June continuing through August. That’s about 6,000 more than 2016.

Jackson said it’s hard to imagine what it’s like for parents who worry about finding food for their children.

“The terror that that brings is just really sad and devastating and you hate to see that,” he said. “And parents are so worried about ensuring that their kids have enough to eat that they’ll go without to make sure there’s enough food on the table.”

The Austin Independent School District is expanding their summer meal program, as well. Last year, they offered free meals to kids at 42 sites during the summer. This year, they’ll offer free breakfast and lunch at 59 sites.

“We have a lot of hunger here in Austin that’s not always talked about, but then we also have a lot of resources out there for families to take advantage of,” said AISD Food Services Director, Anneliese Tanner.

She said 55 percent of district students receive free or reduced price lunches. Tanner also said the school district’s summer meals program isn’t exclusively for district students. They offer meals to any child 18 and under, just like the food bank.

There is no need for families to register their children for free meals for either program. Tanner and Jackson say kids just need to show up to a site to get a free meal. It is not required to show proof of residency or income for you kids to get a free meal.

For Central Texas Food Bank locations, check here. For AISD’s Summer meal resources, check here.

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